Peter's Mistake

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Peter's Mistake

Peter I (1672—1725), czar and emperor, was one of Russia's most energetic, talented, and ruthless rulers. Proclaimed "Peter the Great" in his own time, he was a ruler of truly grandiose vision and personality and intimidating energy. Through his reign he was animated by a sense of duty that he could never instill in the majority of his subjects. This showed up in one of his many tours and journeys.

At heart Peter the Great was a naturalist, collecting biological and mineral specimens wherever he went. On one of his tours he collected well over 1,300 specimens, which he preserved in brandy. That turned out to be a huge mistake. During shipment of the collection back to Russia the crew discovered the preservative. Before the ship docked the sailors aboard the cargo ship drank all the brandy in which the specimens were preserved. What arrived in St. Petersburg was a colossal mess.

What happened to the sailors involved in the drunken sea voyage is not recorded. It is doubtful, however, that the "Great One" merely chalked it up to a learning experience.

From the book: 
Petrified Lightning